Jaggery is as much a part of the cuisine of Kerala as sugar is. A lot of dishes – snacks, desserts are made using jaggery. Experts say that there are many benefits of using jaggery over sugar in your daily diet. Let us look at some of the snacks that are made using jaggery as the sweetener.
One of the snacks made in connection to the festival of Easter in Christian households, the availability of kozhukkatta however does not confine itself into that particular time of the year. It is relished as an evening snack in a regular Malayali’s household. Even though the kozhukkatta looks pretty bland, the flavour of grated coconut, jaggery and cardamon when you bite into the rice flour coating makes you want to grab for many more off the plate.
One of the authentic snacks of Kerala, this would be one of those snacks which is available in plenty all throughout Kerala. Almost all the bakeries will have a stack of packets of freshly made unniyappam by the counter if they are not sold out by then. Constituted mainly of rice flour and mashed ripe bananas, the taste of this coconut oil fried delicacy is enhanced by the presence of ghee fried coconut bits and black sesame seeds.
With the same ingredients as that of the unniyappam sans mashed banana is neyyappam. A little to the crispy side to the edges, becoming soft as you bite into it, this is a dish that is available in local tea shops, and bakeries alike.
Jackfruit is a fruit which is available in plenty in Kerala. They are available for around 6 months a year. The produce is quite high that the pulp of the fruit is preserved using jaggery, ghee, dry ginger and spices, which is called chakka varattiyathu. This is consumed as such, or is used to make other dishes. The base of Chakkayappam is chakka or jackfruit of course. This, along with grated coconut, jaggery and rice flour is filled in either plantain leaf or vazhana leaf (malabathrum leaf) and is steam cooked. The aroma it produces while on the steam is very rich, and it is best enjoyed when it is hot.
This is again a deep fried snack prepared with jaggery. This is a unique combination of boiled green gram, grated coconut, jaggery, cardamom powder etc coated with a wheat flour/maida – water mixture. This mouth watering dish is the perfect evening snack to be enjoyed with a steaming cup of tea.
A Malabari special dish, it is a rich thick batter of rice flour, jaggery, coconut flakes and fried onions pressure cooked. The sides are dark brown in colour and the knife cuts into the tender and soft middle part which is in delicate layers. The top part is again garnished with fried coconut chips and onion.
Apart from all of these snacks, there is also a jaggery version of jilebi which is an integral part of all small-town, temple, church festivals. The Kerala sadya which is a special occasion meal course is never complete with the jaggery coated banana chips. There are also a variety of payasams like the jackfruit pradhaman, rice payasam, green gram payasam etc. that are cooked with jaggery.
Have you tried any of these delectable snacks? What are you waiting for!